Thinking Aloud

Why HDB flat dwellers have the best of both worlds

They own the flats and can profit from them, but HDB as lessor remains super landlord to provide subsidised upgrading throughout the 99-year lease

Chua Mui Hoong's book SIngapore, Disrupted (Straits Times Press, 2018) is available at leading bookstores.

The raging debate over Housing Board flats and whether these are "owned" or merely "leased" from the Government on 99-year leases is driven by a false dichotomy.

I have been following the debate as it gets increasingly heated. On one side are those who say HDB flats are merely leased. Others refute this and say HDB flats are owned, as buyers have ownership rights for the term of the 99-year lease. Online, it was distressing to see people question the integrity of the Government's home ownership policy as a result of that debate.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 09, 2018, with the headline 'Why HDB flat dwellers have the best of both worlds'. Print Edition | Subscribe